On Thursday the 3rd November 2016 Voyage participated in a “Police Encounters Project Board” Conference focused on the controversial Police practice of “Stop and Search”. The conference looked at stop and search trends, best use of the Stop and Search scheme (UK wide best and worst practices) and some of the governments current thinking. Whilst the conference set out lots of statistics, debatable impacts it was was very light on any significant policy shifts towards a more equitable approach. For example there was no appetite expressed for the procedure to totally abolished, yet there seemed to be a move towards the Police adopting a more intelligence based approach. Very little was shared about what this actually meant in practice and in ways the public could really get excited about, so we intend to maintain a watchful eye.

The Conference was attended by senior Met and British Transport Police officers, stop and search community leaders (Ken Hinds now the National Stop and Search lead community rep) and a host of voluntary sector and academic partners including Stopwatch.

Voyage was invited to present its paper “Over policed and under protected” produced for a National Black Police Conference 2014. Our very own Youth Coordinator Ajoa Akuamoah confidently presented the paper highlighting a dichotomy not feeling adequately protected in our communities, increasing knife crime trends against a historic backdrop of tension and poor relations between the Police and young black communities.

Our paper was well received by the conference and we have now shared the 15 point recommendations with Detective Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock. DCC Hanstock has agreed to explore how some of our recommendations can be taken forward within the Met and British Transport Police and we look forward to assisting the process further.

Voyage wishes wish to thank DCC Hanstock and his team for giving us an opportunity to present and we look forward to shaping ongoing dialogue, policing policies and procedural practice to improve community relations, make Police more accountable and stopping discriminatory Police practices.

Read more about stop and search here and some of the slides from the conference.

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Voyage CEO went to see a powerful theatre show this weekend in Tottenham (T Chances) called “So you think I’m crazy..??“. The theatre piece was written and directed by Ekanam Hinds (Know My Mind) and was supported by an excellent cast. The cast played multiple roles which all eloquently worked to highlight the serious issues that affect our mental health and in particular what can tip us over the edge. The play discussed many themes including a failing health system, race disproportionality and set out how the insipid nature of mental health can tear apart families, communities and lives. Mr X (lead character) reminded us of the many people we have known and still know in our own lives and in particular how easy it is to end up in the broken and poorly funded health care system. A health system that is more often than not supported by professionals who care but are also finding it hard to cope with the demands of the work and of course thier own lives. So you think I’m crazy asks questions of others but also asks questions of ourselves.

The highly entertaining and thought provoking show will be next at the Bernie Grant Centre of the 2nd December 2016. Check out the website for more.

Voyage wishes to extend its thanks to cast member Ehireme Omokko for the invite and we look forward to discussing themes from the play, creative youth engagement and animating legal workshops in the future.

Keep up the great work you are all doing.

Bless and thanks xxxxx